Normally, my end of the year wrap-up post would have such a sappy title. More often than not, I’d just choose a couple of photos of the year’s highlights, write a short description, and call it a day. This year, however, I want it to be different. I think we can all agree that 2018 was, well, bad. For a lot of people. Locally. Nationally. Internationally. The year really put us all through the wringer, y’know?
I forced myself to title my year-ender post a sentimental 2018 Silver Linings to look at the bright side of the shit show that was this year, to comfort myself, if only just briefly, in believing that things weren’t all bad this year, couldn’t have been all bad. I owe it to myself to not focus too much on the negative all the time and what better time to be optimistic than on New Year’s Eve?
So. Here it is. Around two thousand words of me looking at the bright side of 2018. I actually surprised myself a few times. I nearly forgot that I did quite a number of things this year that can be considered as, dare I say it, accomplishments. Wild.
I’m not a huge fan of travelling. I’d much prefer to spend my days in the comfort of my own room, oblivious to the real world until I have no choice but to come back to society. However, my family is rather fond of going on road trips and for most of the summer (Philippine summer I mean, which is April to May) I’ve had the mixed pleasure of going to Negros a couple of times. Negros Occidental for pleasure, Negros Oriental for business. I tell you, each time I was always baffled at how similar yet so different that neighboring island is to mine.
Another place we visited, well, revisited was Bohol where we actually tried to explore the island more thoroughly unlike last time. We went to an adventure park but barely did any adventuring. Hiked, yes – much to Ma’s displeasure – but nothing too crazy.
Locally, I also went to a few interesting places last summer. My personal favorite was going to Capitancillo Island with my college friends. I was invited by my old school pub chums to go with them for their summer travelogue article since they basically had the island all to themselves anyway and the more the merrier. It was a sudden invite, and on a Sunday no less, but I eagerly jumped on it.
Then, about a week later, I went to the zoo with my Ma’s side of the family. It was a fairly new zoo and rather small compared to others but it was a fun place to explore anyway.
(I took a ton of photos of the animals there but couldn’t decide on just a few so here’s a random one of these cute macaws.)
Friends and Adulting
Ever since I graduated, seeing my friends and hanging out with them has been a real challenge. Scheduling a lunch date requires weeks of preparation and fastidious attention to everyone’s work hours. Whenever we do somehow manage to finagle a couple of hours or, best case scenario, a whole Saturday, to hang out, it seems like the planets have aligned and we are blessed.
I’m waxing on poetic about all of this because it really does get harder and harder to keep in touch with my friends. Fortunately, while we may not see each other for months at a time, when we do meet again, it often feels like barely a few days have passed. It’s as easy to talk with them and chill with them as it had always been. Which I think is pretty nice.
The most recent lunch date, the one we had after Christmas, is my personal favorite. Most of my batch came and even though we spent the next few hours after lunch wandering aimlessly at the mall, it was a heck of a lot of fun. Hopefully, after-Christmas-lunch-date will become a yearly thing of ours.
Now for the real meat of this post. Books. Obviously.
So 2018 for me pretty much marked a new era of reading and enjoying books and bookish stuff. Before I used to view reading books as a solitary hobby. Sure, I’d post and read reviews online and, occasionally, talk about books with people online (and offline) but that’s it. I was only vaguely aware that there were was a local online community but I never really tried to interact with anyone in the bookish scene primarily because of social anxiety as well as a tinge of laziness. This year, however, I finally got enough nerve to wiggle right in the PH book community and it was, no joke, the best decision I made all year.
Yes, after a longstanding bout of blogger identity crisis, I finally resolved to be a book blogger. Not a very good (or active one) but, you know, baby steps.
Anywho. Here are a couple of book blogging things I’ve done this past year.
I’ve noticed these “blog tours” on my Twitter timeline for a while before I actually went and tried to figure out what it meant. It was @Shealea (our bookish lord and savior) that explained to me the concept of a blog tour as she was hosting the PH blog tour of Helen Scheuerer’s Reign of Mist novel at the time. Basically, a blog tour is when book bloggers are provided an e-ARC (electronic Advanced Reader’s Copy) of an upcoming book in return for a review or some other blog post. Participants have to post their reviews on their specified date.
I hadn’t done anything like a that before and was seriously hesitating on whether or not to even sign up for the Reign of Mist PH tour. I was particularly doubtful that I’d be a good fit for something like that since Reign of Mist was a sequel, not the first installment of a series or standalone book. I mean, having to read two books? What was I, an academic?
Kidding aside, I really was nervous that I wasn’t going to be cut out for such a thing… but I realized that I would never know unless I tried so I submitted my application and waited in suspense. Miraculously, I got in and was sent a copy of the first book, Heart of Mist.
You might not believe this but I actually didn’t read the summary of the book (my eyes glazed over the words a few times but somehow I never made sense of the blurb at all) so I had no idea what I was getting into. After approximately one chapter, I was hooked. I wrote a whole ass blog post explaining why so I won’t bother with it here. Essentially, my fears were unfounded and I went on to write my post for the blog tour semi-confidently.
Months later, @Kate organized the blog tour for Marie Miranda Cruz’s Everlasting Nora, a middle grade book set in modern-day Philippines, and I slammed that sign up form with only mild hesitation. That’s character growth right there.
Sometime in August, the Twitter tag #bookishwish and #bookishwishph made the rounds. It was a tag for bookworms to post their, well, bookish wish (books they want) in the hopes that some book angel out there is willing to grant them their book. It was also to encourage bookworms to share their books to other readers who may want to give said books a try. Since my TBR shelf is an actual disaster zone, I leaned more on the giving end of the tag.
I did (and still do) have a lot of books on my shelf that I don’t really care for so I figured that it would be better for me to share them with people who’d actually want them. So I posted a tweet with a list of the books I wanted to give. Didn’t even take half a day for all the books to be claimed.
Shipping the books tested my fear of courier companies and talking to courier people but I persevered. Knowing that some other bookworms out there will enjoy the books that I didn’t made it all worth it.
One decision that I simultaneously celebrate and regret is getting myself a Kindle reader. I love how easy it makes reading ebooks but I hate how easy it makes buying ebooks. One click and I’ve got myself yet another book on my TBR! It’s glorious and disastrous at the same time.
Since getting this e-reader, I’ve thoughtlessly purchased… I don’t even know how many ebooks in a short period of time. I’m afraid to think about them, to be honest. I now set my Kindle in perpetual flight mode, to avoid any temptations.
And yes, I named it Kindle Jenner. At first it was just because it was a cute lil pun but the more I think about it… both do look pretty and want nothing more than for me to spend my money on their products. Hm… did I inflict this curse on to myself ?
When @Shealea announced on Twitter if anyone was interested in a sort of online secret Santa, I had to jump in. It was such a fun idea to not only bring the book community together but also get people in the holiday spirit that I knew that I’d have been a fool not to join.
As a Bookish Secret Tita, I went a little extra with my gift. Unfortunately, the small bottle of colorful stones shattered during delivery… which pretty much shattered my heart with it. But at least the girl I got liked the books I sent her way. That’s what was really important.
As for me, I got a contemporary thriller book I’ve been eyeing for months but never got as well as stationary paper. Huge shout out to @Miel!
I’m just going to keep this last one short since I’ve talked about this a dozen times in this blog but… I did it! I completed my Goodreads Reading Challenge! Woo!
I’ll probably post my Reading Challenge Highlights… at some point. I don’t know when but, god willing, I will. I’ve already got it outlined so it could take me either a day to write it up or a month. No in between for me, I’m afraid.
I know that this year-ender post is getting a little long but, let’s face it, no one’s really reading this but me so I may as well remind myself of a couple of goals I’ve set my sights to this 2019.
- Revamp my novel. My first attempt/first draft was admittedly a failure but – and here’s the good news – it was a failure that I could learn from. And boy am I learning. I’m currently studying up on the how-to’s and theories and whatnot on writing a novel and once I’ve gotten enough writing knowledge to create a cohesive, coherent, and compelling story… it’s all over for you hoes. Just kidding. But I am reading a lot of writing books. I didn’t realize how little I knew until I started studying the craft. Well, you live and you learn.
- Sequel Sundays. I’ve been holding off on reading the sequels of the series I started in 2018 mostly so I could branch out to other books but I had the idea to make something of it, a blog series of sorts. I’m thinking every last Sunday of the month (or whatever) I could review a sequel of a series and see if it holds up to the first book. I’ve noticed in a lot of trilogies (or duologies) that the second book either makes or breaks the series. I want to explore that theory of mine with this series.
- More Book Talks. One thing that I enjoy about books is nitpicking certain aspects of it until I’m left with a rambling, pedantic mess. I’ve got a few ideas I want to take a crack at and I’m hoping to make this inconsistent pseudo-series in my blog into something. I mean, it would be a great way for me to apply what I’ve learned from my studying too.
- 125 books! May as well actually make a concentrated effort to end my TBR backlog. It’s gonna be a real challenge, that’s for sure.
Aaaaannnnd that’s it. 2018 in one hastily written, clumsily put together post. As much as my brain wants to insist that 2018 was a dumpster fire, I gotta admit that after writing this post, I guess it really wasn’t as bad as I thought. Personally, that is.
Here’s to 2019! May it be full of good fortune, actual productivity, and character growth. Happy New Year everyone!